Modi’s fragile strategy

Name changes as part of an election campaign

Since coming into power in 2014, Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party party workers have been struggling to change the name of India to Bharat (actually, Bharat is the Hindi name of India), which was given to the son of Dushyanta and Shakuntala, named King Bharata.

Modi is leading the BJP; he wants to promote the party and win laurels, as done by the Awami National Party in Pakistan by changing the name of NWFP to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A famous proverb says what lies in name (Naam mein kia rakha hy).

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Mr. Modi negotiated with G20 leaders at a summit, fueling that theory. Some scholars claimed that Modi actually wanted to reorganize the electoral calendar. An election is held every five years, and a new committee has been devised to recommend simultaneous elections. Modi’s next agenda is to transform India into something more like a European nation-state. Though some reforms of Modi are good to make India a great nation, like one nation, one ration card or “one nation, one election” and “one nation, one tax”. All these reforms are in favour of Hindus in Hindustan. India is one of the most populated countries, surpassing China in the middle of 2023, estimated at 1,428,627,663—the Muslim population at 197.5 to 200 million for 2023, which is increasing at an alarming rate. Bharat means a state of Hindus, though other minorities are a significant threat to that identity. Some scholars believe that Modi reshuffles the religious minorities, and his foreign misadventures will create internal chaos in india. The Modi Agenda to convert India into Bharat means dragging the largest democracy into an unnecessary conflict zone.

Uppsla University Professor Dr Ashok Swain articulated that under Prime Minister Modi, India is moving towards a dictatorship rather than a democratic state. The current was less secular and democratic than it ever was. Dr Swain, in his statement, described that India is inching closer to dictatorship, and there is no exception. Modi’s aggressive policy towards Muslims and other religious minorities plays with flames.

Mr Modi’s action on 5 August 2019, in occupied Kashmir, was part of this dangerous game. Many international scholars opined that Modi is not only a danger to internal affairs but also to external diplomacy. The skirmish between China and India in Ladakh brought the two nations closer to near-lethal blows. Modi’s dangerous intention with Beijing was another faux pas. This conflict made China more potent in the regional crisis; such action of the Modi government fractured the delicate relationship between Beijing and New Delhi.

Modi’s dangerous intention for Pakistan was another blunder when he claimed that India had destroyed a terror camp near Balakot. This was another drama of Modi’s government, which was fueled by election-year nationalism. In 2023, a survey was done in 180 countries about the world press freedom index, in which the Indian position was 161. It means there is no freedom of expression in the secular state of India. The Freedom in the World Index has deprived Indian citizens of political rights and civil liberties. As per the Economist Intelligence Unit report, India has been ranked as one of the flawed democracies since Modi came into power. 

Mr. Modi is trying to be a popular leader for the upcoming election in May 2024. But he is facing a critical situation from Sikhism in the Khalistan Movement and the recent movement of women labour for not creating jobs. Even though the Indian government has claimed that India has been emerging as a faster-growing economy for the last few years, the labour force and women’s employment in India have been neglected since the previous Covid-19 pandemic. There is a surge in unemployment among the youth in India. The unemployment in India grew to 42.3 percent as of the June 2023 report, and the credit goes to Mr Modi.

The changing dangerous intention harmed India when he started changing Muslim names of cities, towns and streets. However, it is a prolonged history of Muslim rulers like Mughal emperors and other Muslim rulers in the Subcontinent— a few large cities like Allahabad, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Aligarh, and so on, show this. By changing the name of these megacities and towns, Modi wants to write a new history. The present status of these towns owes a debt to its glorious past of several centuries of Muslim rulers in India. Modi wants to rewrite his own history, but he cannot succeed in this dangerous mission. In a nutshell, Modi’s intention for India as a fast-growing economy and one of the largest democratic states will remain in papers and stories. In practice, it would not be changed; only blame the name.

Rashid Mehmood
Rashid Mehmood
The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad, He can be reached at [email protected]


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